The ancient Olympic games were held every four years at the temple of Zeus. They were a major cultural and religious event that doubled as a contest between rivaling nation-states. Certain strands of mythology even suggest that Heracles, the strongest of mortal men, organized the event and built the Olympic stadium in honor of his father, Zeus. Today, few athletes devote their efforts to the honor of Zeus, but there remains a certain religiosity at work in sport’s place within Western culture. Honor and money, fame and fortune, character and fair play, skill and artistic perfection also remain at stake, just in new ways.
In this, our twenty-sixth issue of The Other Journal, we are looking at the ways in which sport is shaping and influencing contemporary life and thought. We are looking at the ethics, commodification, and embodiment of particular events; the personal and cultural stories which weave in and out of sport; and the ways in which those sport events first draw participants and fans in and then send their bodies back into the world. In short, we are interested in the many ways that sport and theology are interconnected and inform or critique one another.
Putting David Foster Wallace in conversation with Andrew Edgar, Benj Petroelje argues that while sport no longer trades in transcendence, it does contain echoes of two elements of a Christian vision of human flourishing.
Landon T. Huffman and Ed Goodman consider the ways in which sport competition should be viewed through the lens of redemption, pushing us to seek God’s transcendent purpose for, and displaying God’s glory through, sport by striving together.